The Ramblers: It might surprise you (as it did me)
I sat next to the new (young) editor of the Rambler magazine at a recent Outdoors Writers and Photographers Guild conference. I was (most likely) a bit rude when I asked Matt if the Ramblers had any plans to “young up” their walking organisation. I guess, like many people, I think of the Ramblers as something I might join when I’m older and my partner has a white-grey beard. I imagine myself wearing a bobble hat.
Matt didn’t flinch and because he has presumably been brought up to be polite he also didn’t throw back a sarcastic retort. He said simply that the Ramblers was – and has been – doing a lot to reposition the image of the charity.
On further enquiry, I discovered that as the walking charity celebrates its 50th anniversary there is a younger demographic joining up. There are new groups of younger walkers popping up all over the place. In Scotland, four Young Walkers Ramblers groups (aged 20 to 40s) are thriving. They include:
I was also sent this video to watch
It looks like there are Ramblers Scotland groups for all ages and that the more traditional image that I had is rather out of date. I stand corrected!
Get Outdoors Weekend
As part of Ramblers Scotland’s 50th anniversary, a Get Outdoors weekend on August 1 to 3 will encourage more people of all ages to get out walking.
The Get Outdoors Weekend offers dozens of varied led walks, as well as a long list of many more walks to enjoy on your own or with a group of friends.
Jess Dolan, director of Ramblers Scotland, said: “Get Outdoors Weekend is a great way of celebrating our 50th birthday by showcasing all that Scotland’s fabulous countryside has to offer.
“With the long summer days, there’s no better time to go exploring on foot and discover new places, paths and views.”
The Get Outdoors Scotland guided walks are free. There may be transport costs for some of the walks.
Lots more walks in Scotland
Check out the Ramblers Scotland website for ideas about where to walk. All you need is a pair of walking boots or shoes, some basic kit to keep out the wind, rain and/or sunshine and knowledge of where to walk safely or according to your experience and fitness levels.
Get Outdoors Weekend walking ideas
- Scotland now has dozens of long distance routes, Scotland’s Great Trails, which showcase some of the best scenery and can make a great base for a day trip. Some of these trails are close to where many people live, such as the John Muir Way, running through the Central Belt from Helensburgh to Dunbar, and the Fife and Ayrshire coastal paths.
- Family walking is great for all ages, from children to grandchildren. See ideas and top tips.
- Climb a Munro, Corbett, Donald or Graham. If you are not sure where theses are see Walk Highlands for route information.
- Try a local health walk. These are low-level, short, safe, social, fun and accessible walks supported by Paths for All
- Visit a national park, such as Cairngorms National Park or Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. (Did you know it is National Parks Week from July 27 to August 2?)
- Visit a regional park including Pentlands Hills Regional Park, Lomond Hills Regional Park or Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park
- Head to one of Scotland’s National Nature Reserves for lots of waymarked paths and trails.
- Visit a Caledonian Pinewood, some of the best are listed here.
- Find inspiration here on woodlands, parksand open countryside to visit for a walk.
- Ramblers Scotland has 450 mapped routes as part of their innovative Medal Routes project. The short, circular routes of bronze (15 minutes), silver (30 minutes) and gold (60 minutes) can be found from Orkney and Shetland to the Borders. They can be downloaded free from the Medal Routes App or the Ramblers Scotland website.
Prizes for the best Get Outdoors photos
As well as enjoying the fitness and health benefits of walking, the Get Outdoors Weekend has numerous prizes to give away. You can share photos of your adventures with Ramblers Scotland to have a chance of winning a two-night stay for two people at Gleneagles Hotel, a Páramo fleece and windproof jacket and a Highlander Blackthorn2 tent.
There are also Pocket Mountain guide books, Nikwax products, walking socks and water bottles up for grabs.
See more at Ramblers Scotland.